Paper presented to the IIIT Board held at Kuwait 19-24 December 2005 by Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.


IIIT was registered in 1982 as a result of ideas arising out of the First World Muslim Education Conference held in Makka in 1977, the subsequent conference of Muslim thinkers held in Lugano, and other seminars and writings at around that time. The expressed purpose of IIIT was to address the Reform and Revival of the Ummah by reform of knowledge and education. The main strategic thrust was to critique, reconstruct and Islamize human knowledge as a prelude to societal reform. Over the past 23 years IIIT has had many achievements: it has held conferences and seminars, produced many books, and mobilized scholars and thinkers. These efforts have covered a wide span of intellectual concerns beyond the fields of knowledge and curricula. This paper proposed that IIIT refocus on Islamization of knowledge and curricula which is its founding mission. The term ‘Islamization of curricula’ is preferred because it is more broad and is practical compared to the term ‘Islamization of knowledge’ which connotes a more theoretical approach that is more of intellectual interest.


Prioritization of knowledge and curricula:

A world-wide Muslim education movement originating at the start of the new hijri century (circa 1980) has motivated the opening of many Muslim schools and Muslim universities in both Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority areas. This movement has been mainly an emotional reaction to provide an Islamic alternative to the secular education systems. It did not have a consistent and methodological conceptual base with the result that both educators and parents have faced frustrations in producing educational curricula. This frustration will increase as more such institutions are opened. On the other hand Islamic intellectual efforts at Islamization of the curricula are lacking or are weak and localized. This provides an opportunity for IIIT to fill the gap by providing intellectual leadership and mobilizing intellectual resources at an international level.   


Methodology of work:

The first step a 6-month effort to make available on the internet all material relating to Islamization of knowledge and curricula that has been accumulated by IIIT and others over the past 20 years. Concurrently small scientific working groups (SWG) can be set up in several cities, regions, countries, universities, and schools. The SWG can be based on academic disciplines or curricular themes or a mixture of the two. These groups would meet to review the material available and develop consensus guidelines on Islamization. We must accept wide diversity because there are many approaches to Islamization. What is needed is to start a world-wide Islamization initiative whose final goal is definable but whose methods and approaches can be different depending on local circumstances. We should avoid calling big conferences that sometimes waste a lot of money and achieve little. We should rather encourage many small and local workshops all over the world but make sure that whatever they discuss is disseminated widely using the internet medium. We should also keep our focus on what is practical viz solving problems of actual schools and universities. IIIT should play the role of a motivator, leader, and central coordinator for all these efforts. IIIT will act as a catalyst to help individuals and institutions develop their own concepts about curricula.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule December 2005